Wil Wheaton Blames One Scene For Everyone Hating Wesley Crusher

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

No Star Trek character in franchise history has been more hated than Wesley Crusher, the boy genius of The Next Generation who always managed to solve problems that even engineers and androids couldn’t unravel. And nobody has had more time to figure out why fans hate the character than Wil Wheaton, the actor who brought this precocious character to life. While Wesley Crusher has plenty of annoying moments throughout the series, Wheaton is convinced that a single line of dialogue in the episode “The Battle” was enough to transform Wesley from “mildly annoying to vehemently-hated character.”

The Battle

If the name of that episode doesn’t ring a bell, you may need a refresher on this largely forgettable first-season episode. In “The Battle,” a Ferengi commander presents the derelict vessel Stargazer to Picard, who is grateful to see his old ship still in one piece. It turns out the Ferengi is angry that Picard killed his son in a previous battle, and the alien uses a strange orb to make Picard hallucinate that he is living in the past and that he must use the Stargazer to attack the Enterprise

Wesley Saves The Day…..Again

Commander Riker and the rest of the Enterprise crew are able to save Picard thanks largely to Wesley Crusher, who identified that the captain was affected by transmissions from the Ferengi vessel. This was, honestly, par for the course in Season 1, which often had Wesley (long thought to be Gene Roddenberry’s self-insert character) save the day by using his big brain to figure things out. According to Wesley actor Wil Wheaton, though, it was a single line of dialogue in this episode that forever turned the fans against him.

Wil Wheaton Hated This Episode

evil wesley crusher

Back in the day, the actor began posting his own reviews of Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes, and he had some very choice words regarding the scene where Wesley Crusher figures out that Picard’s scans seemingly match transmissions from the Ferengi vessel. He thought it absurd that Wesley only “glanced” at the scans and, “in that brief moment, magically divined exactly what the rest of the professionally-trained crew – including the hypersmart robot – hadn’t noticed.” 

For Wil Wheaton, the cherry on top of this awful scene is Wesley’s muttered comments right after everyone leaves the room: “You’re welcome, ladies… heh. Adults.” The actor acknowledged that the writers needed to find a way to explain why Picard and crew kept Wesley around but that this scene and dialogue amounted to “perhaps the worst way to help the audience accept that this kid (Wesley) is going to be part of the main crew.”

Fans Did Turn Against Wesley

Sarcastically, Wil Wheaton wrapped his thoughts up about this scene by writing, “Oh, that’s pure genius writing there, guys; that’s not going to alienate a single fan.” He was right, of course, and the fandom took an almost immediate dislike to the Wesley Crusher character. However, with respect to Wheaton (who certainly knows more about Wesley than myself or any other fan), I don’t really agree with his belief that it was this line of dialogue that turned Wesley into a “vehemently-hated character.”

Lots Of Reasons To Hate Wesley

Mostly, I think his assessment is incorrect because “The Battle” was the ninth episode of Season 1. By this point, we had already seen how Wesley, even when he was basically drunk in “The Naked Now,” managed to singlehandedly take over the ship, outsmarting every single member of the best-trained crew in the galaxy. And in “Justice,” the episode right before “The Battle,” the entire Enterprise crew is nearly killed by a kind of cosmic god because Wesley Crusher couldn’t catch a ball (no, seriously).

Shut Up Wesley

What I’m saying is that early Star Trek: The Next Generation gave us plenty of reasons to hate Wesley Crusher. Still, Wil Wheaton is correct that the character’s dialogue in “The Battle” is particularly cringeworthy. With dialogue like this, is it any surprise that fans have been quoting Picard’s “shut up, Wesley” line for all these decades?

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